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Players bracing for 'dogfight' in final round of CJ Cup

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Justin Thomas led the CJ Cup at 9 under after the opening round. He still shares the lead at that mark, with conditions getting increasingly more difficult.

With the wind gusting to 30 mph, only five of the 77 players broke 70 Saturday at Nine Bridges in South Korea.

Thomas said the issue wasn’t so much the strength of the wind. It was the unpredictability of the direction.

“I’ve never played in a place where it bounces around and switches as much as it does here,” Thomas told reporters after a third-round 70 gave him a share of the lead with Scott Brown. “I think because of all the trees, how often you are down going through the trees around the greens, it bounces off of them a lot. It really switches quite often.”

The swirling winds make approach shots difficult, of course, but players also have to factor in how the wind will affect chipping and putting.

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“It’s really difficult to chip and putt because your putts can totally change the break with the wind, or your chips can get up in the air and catch a gust and go one way or the other,” Thomas said. “It really is a huge difference. It is definitely one of the most difficult conditions I’ve played in.”

The weather is expected to be similar Sunday, with sustained winds of 15-20 mph and gusts to 30 mph.

“What they tell me about the weather, it’s going to be brutal,” Brown said. “I think it’s going to be a dogfight. It’s going to be ‘do what you can and see what happens.’”